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Here is some little known but basic information on the Panhead chopper engine:

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The pan-head engine is Harley-Davidson's second overhead-valve engine. This engine was introduced in 1948. It was quieter and cleaner than the Knucklehead (another type of the Harley Davidson engine) which had been used since 1936.

The Knucklehead was named after the knuckle-like valve covers look of an upside down cake pan on the top of the engine.

The Pan head got its name from the large flat covers at the top of the cylinder heads. It had a better cooling system than the Knucklehead, as well as other modifications that reduced wear. This made it easier to maintain.

Throughout this site you will be well educated about the Harley Davidson Panhead Engine. Stick around for a while!

Nonetheless, the Panhead didn't change much from the knuckle. But it came equipped with aluminum heads for more power because the bikes were getting heavier. Also, the heat beater was depressed.

In 1955 Harley modified the pan head engine by installing a more efficient lower end (this is why the panhead is quieter than the knucklehead.)

Pan head engines were also the first v-twin to come with an electric starting system in 1965.



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